No Coordinating Minister For Economy In Buhari’s Cabinet- Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday disclosed that there would be no position of Coordinating Minister for the economy in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari.

A statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, said Osinbajo made the disclosure while receiving Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Jonathan Richardson, in his office.

It would be recalled that the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan had created the position of Coordinating Minister for the Economy for Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who was also the Finance Minister.

Osinbajo, while addressing the envoy, recalled his remarks during the National Economic Summit held in Abuja few weeks ago that as vice president his role was to supervise the economy.

“We are not going to have a system where there would be a coordinating minister. No, there would not be anything like that.

“My role as vice president is to ensure that everyone involved in economic activities, there is a way by which the President is fully apprised of what everyone is doing such that we are all on same page and to make it easier for the President to make decisions,” he said.

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US Govt. Anxiously Waiting For Buhari’s Cabinet, New Policies

United States, US Government has said it is waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari to inaugurate his cabinet and introduce policies that would drive Nigeria in the next four years.

Meantime, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has commended the efforts of the US government in ensuring peaceful democratic transition in the last general elections in Nigeria.

The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle disclosed this when he led some foreign investors on a courtesy visit to the Lagos House, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja.

During the visit held behind closed-doors, Entwistle noted that the cabinet is needed to be constituted urgently considering the enormous task before the central government and state governments.

His words “What everyone is waiting for at this time is the confirming of the cabinet at the federal level and the new policies that will drive the country.”

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Spanish Investors Wait For Buhari’s Cabinet

Mr Pablo Segrelles, the Economic Counsellor of the Embassy of Spain in Nigeria, on Thursday, said that Spanish companies were awaiting President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet to enable them to increase investments in Nigeria.

According to him, Spanish investors, who had “keenly’’ monitored the conduct of Nigeria’s elections were now expecting the announcement of a new cabinet.

“Spanish companies have always indicated interest in doing business in Nigeria, but the conduct of the 2015 elections resulted in a lot of standby decisions by these companies,” he said. “But shortly after the peaceful conduct of the elections, these companies are more than ready to come into Nigeria. They are now waiting for President Buhari to constitute a new cabinet. And as soon as he announces his cabinet, more Spanish companies will come to Nigeria.”

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Why Buhari’s Cabinet Is Delayed- Report

As Nigerians await President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, there are indications that ministers may not be named within the next two months. In the past weeks, Buhari has come under criticism over the delay in appointing ministers, one month after assuming office and three months after winning the presidential election.

A competent source has revealed that President Buhari’s delay in constituting a cabinet is caused by his reluctance to build on the “rotten foundation” he inherited from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration.  He therefore, wants to take his time to sieve through the list of those being considered as ministers.

According to the source, “you cannot even begin to imagine the situation we have met on ground. Almost everything is in a state of decay. There is absolutely no way the new government can hope to achieve anything long-lasting without first building a new foundation.”

The source likened President Buhari’s plan of action to that of a doctor who first has to break a poorly set bone afresh, before resetting it to allow for smooth and proper growth. The source said it would be impossible to appoint ministers to portfolios, without first knowing which portfolios exist and which will be abolished.

“The President plans to cut down the number of ministries and parastatals. He wants to cut down the cost of running government. He wants to make sure that all the loopholes that enable corruption to thrive are blocked. All these are procedures that require time and careful planning. You cannot do it in a rush,” the source revealed. He noted that Buhari could not realistically have begun this process without first receiving the full report of the transition committee and ascertaining exactly the situation his government faced.

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Buhari’s Cabinet: Joda Committee Recommends 19 Senior Ministers, 17 Ministers Of State

Amid growing public concern over the structure and membership of the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, indications have emerged that the President may operate with just 19 ministries.

The Ahmed Joda-led Transition Committee has recommended a “small government” which entails pruning the number of ministers from 42 to 19, The Cable newspaper reported Friday, quoting the 800-page document submitted by the committee.

Mr. Joda submitted the report to Mr. Buhari last Friday.

The president is expected to implement key recommendations of the report, especially those proposing lean cabinet structure as a way of cutting recurrent expenditure and freeing up funds for capital projects.

According to The Cable, the committee recommended that Mr. Buhari should have only 19 senior ministers, while 17 (junior) ministers of state should be appointed, bringing the total to 36 in line with constitutional provision of one minister per state.

Most of the existing ministries are to be merged, while only nine are not recommended for pruning, the report said.

The nine ministries unaffected by the recommendation of the committee are: industry, trade and investment; education, defence, FCT, finance, labour and productivity, justice, foreign affairs and national planning.

The Joda committee recommended that ministries of mines and steel development, petroleum resources and power should become one ministry to be named “ministry of energy”, while environment, land and urban development as well as works and housing should be merged and known as works, housing and environment instead of being three separate ministries.

Also the ministries of aviation and transport are to become ministry of transport taking charge of aviation, rail, water and transport systems.

“There is no direct relationship between the number of ministries and efficacy of service delivery. The US with a population of 316 million and with GDP of $17,328 trillion (30 times Nigeria’s GDP) has 15 ministries. India has 24 ministries, while the UK has 17,” the committee was quoted as saying.

“The current structure of the FGN with 28 ministries and 542 agencies (50 of which have no enabling laws) [results in] very high cost of governance. The portfolios of ministries are not responsive to all the major critical national challenges such as family and child affairs; religious affairs; vulnerable and elderly group affairs as well as the North-eastern crisis.

“[There is an] apparent conflict between the desire of reducing the cost of governance through cabinet downsize and the constitutional requirement of a cabinet-level ministerial appointment from each of the 36 states of the federation,” the newspaper quoted the committee’s report as saying.

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Buhari’s Cabinet: President Meets Northern Power Brokers

President Muhammadu Buhari has met with key northern power brokers and close associates and loyalists over his proposed ministerial and Special Advisers (SAs)’ list.

The meeting with the northern leaders was to get their views on how to pick the best hands and brains that would help him run his administration. The meeting took place at Buhari’s private residence in Kaduna shortly after he returned from South Africa on Tuesday.

The meeting with the northern power brokers is coming on the heels of similar meetings with some former Presidents and Heads of State, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Buhari had equally consulted with prominent people in the southern region, including the former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu.

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Buhari’s Cabinet List May Be Altered Due To Saraki, Dogara’s Emergence- Report

The emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as the President of the Senate and Yakubu Dogara as the Speaker of the House of Representatives may have altered the cabinet consideration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Saraki, a former governor of Kwara State, is from North-Central while Dogara hails from Bauchi, North-East. The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, is from the South-East while the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yusuf Lasun, hails from the South-West.

All these officers, except Ekweremadu, are members of the ruling APC. The deputy senate president is the only member of the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party.

President Buhari was said to be waiting for the outcome of the election before making announcement on key appointments in his government.

Apart from the ministers, he was said to be waiting for the election of principal officers of the National Assembly before naming his Secretary to the Government of the Federation, his Chief of Staff and Special Advisers.

Investigations by our correspondent in Abuja indicated that the position of the SGF hitherto reserved for the South-East may now go to another zone because of the emergence of Ekweremadu.

In anticipation that the position would go to the zone, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State was said to have submitted three names to the President.

Those on his list are a former Governor of Anambra State, Senator Chris Ngige; a former Governor of old Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and Prof. Anthony Anwuka.

It was gathered that in the negotiation that brought Saraki to power, the zone agreed to rather go for the position of the deputy senate president instead of the SGF.

The presidential source said, “President Buhari is seriously tinkering with the original list he has for political offices. This is because the emergence of the officers of the National Assembly has affected the original list he has.

“Though he was expecting some elements of surprise in the election, but I think he never bargained for a total disregard to party directive in the election of the officers.”

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Group Wants Disabled Included In Buhari’s Cabinet

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has advocated for the inclusion of physically-challenged members of the community in the cabinet of the incoming administration of Muhammadu Buhari.

HURIWA said it believed that the continuous exclusion of the physically-challenged was tantamount to the gross violation of section
14(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended). “This persistent rights violations must be torpedoed now,” the organisation stated.

National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, jointly signed the statement.

There an estimated 20 million disabled people in this country with 176 million people, the largest in the continent.

“From our extensive findings, we are aware that Nigeria is blessed with top quality intellectually vibrant women who can competently and professionally pilot the affairs of vital federal ministries and agencies as the abundance of empirical evidence has shown,” HURIWA officials stated.

“We therefore urge our newly elected President to write his name in gold as one of the respected liberators of Nigerian women and the physically challenged by equitably allotting high caliber cabinet level appointments to these groups of very important Nigerians.”

Credit: CAJ News